written by dan magill
Club President Croydon Communicators
Another Thursday night, another outstanding meeting at Croydon Communicators.
As is fast becoming the norm at our club, the room was packed with first-time guests, all mixing in with members and keen to find out more about what we do.
I’m sure none of them went away feeling let down with what we did.
All Toastmaster meetings need a good Toastmaster at the helm, and we had more than just ‘good’ with Sandra.
It was Sandra’s first time in the role but she handled it magnificently well and made sure we all had a meeting to remember.
Sandra set the theme, ‘Fighting For It’ and it was a theme that was embraced and developed throughout the night.
Sandra had clearly prepared diligently for the meeting and she carried that forward with a truly outstanding display as our Toastmaster. Her development over the last few months, since joining Croydon Communicators, has been staggering and we can only imagine where she might be with her speaking this time next year.
It was Matt’s first meeting since joining the club and he was thrown straight in at the deep-end with a last-minute opportunity to cover the Timekeeper role.
Nobody would have guessed he’d only been asked to step in moments before the meeting got going and he gave a professional, entertaining and humorous display.
After a few months away, it was fabulous to have Zainab back at the club. Zainab always brings a unique energy and passion which is greatly missed when she isn’t around.
As Grammarian for the evening, Zainab brought us a word of the day, some insightful thoughts on grammar and even a quiz to check how well everyone had been listening.
Please come back soon, Zainab!
Powerful PowerPoints, Random Conversations and Marriage Guidance - Gertrude Style!
As ever, our three prepared speeches were outstanding, and all speakers had clearly taken the time to prepare well.
Caroline was first up, with a project which focussed on the use of visual aids.
As her evaluator, Richard, pointed out, Caroline showed us exactly how a PowerPoint presentation should be used to enhance a speech and not put him to sleep.
Aside from the slides, Caroline’s speech was jam-packed with words of wisdom and lessons for everyone in the room.
It was great to have Vivian back at the club and giving one of her trademark, eloquently written and powerfully delivered speeches which had a message for us all about the significance of striking up random conversations with strangers.
Finally, Gertrude gave us a highly entertaining speech which focussed on how to communicate in relationships. Gertrude used humour brilliantly well to bring her points to life and as her evaluator, Florence, pointed out, she used interaction with the audience to maximum effect.
As usual, our break was a chance for everybody to get together and chat. I was thrilled to have so many of our guests come and ask me about joining the club and it always so nice to see people ready to take what I know is a very brave step. As existing members of the club it gives us all such a buzz to see new people wanting to start their journey with us.
After the break, it was time for Table Topics and Marcia was on hand to give out some very thought provoking impromptu speech topics.
Several guests stepped forward to have a go and, as in our last meeting, they all excelled.
This topics session was bulging with highlights...
We had Chabbi, showing us how to get into a subject, using gestures and humour to really get the audience along for the ride. Before finishing with some inspired repetition of the night’s Word of the Day! Zainab could barely keep up her count as the word just kept rolling off Chabbi’s tongue!
Then we had Estela, a returning guest who had taken on a topic at her first visit and was back for more tonight. Even over the space of just two weeks, it was clear to see an improvement in confidence and perseverance and we can’t wait to have Estela join up as a full time club member.
Susan was also back for more and she spoke eloquently and confidently, moving in close to form a real connection with the audience. Again, Susan is hopefully going to be a full-time member by our next meeting and we can’t wait to see her getting her teeth into some other roles.
If there was an award for best ever ending to a table topic – Precious won it tonight! After giving a very high-quality and considered answer to her question, Precious decided enough was enough and shouted, ‘Oh bugger!’ before confidently marching back to her seat.
And then we had our first-time guest Klaudie.
Klaudie was asked to speak about fight or flight, and how brilliantly he did it. When he came onto stage with his coat on, I did wonder how long he was planning on staying with us, but two minutes of wonderful speaking later, we all knew that Klaudie was here to stay.
Klaudie used a personal story, interspersed with a message for us all, to deliver a first-class table topic answer.
Pearls from Dean
Finally, we had Sean Dean giving us a General Evaluation of the entire evening.
Sean is Club President at Society Speakers in London and it was our privilege to have him with us for the evening in Croydon.
Sean gave everyone who hadn’t been evaluated some thoughtful commendations and recommendations and delivered them with bags of humour.
So, overall – another brilliant meeting at Croydon Communicators.
The great news is that we have two more meetings to come in October, which I’m sure will be every bit as entertaining, educational and inspiring as ever.
To leave you with the words of a great Croydon Communicators’ Toastmaster…
Best Speaker Caroline
Best Evaluator Richard
Best Table Topics Klaudie
President’s Award Sandra